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Letter to the Editor: On The Racist Remarks of Councilpersons Nury Martinez, Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo

As a Jew of color whose family has roots in the Deep South and as someone who is involved in Los Angeles politics, I am shocked and saddened by the racist remarks of Councilpersons Nury Martinez, Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo.  Racism, homophobia and discrimination have no place in Los Angeles and should not be condoned by anyone, especially our elected officials.
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October 11, 2022
hanukkah, candles, racism, racist, America, Jewish Journal, David Suissa

Letter to the Editor:

As a Jew of color whose family has roots in the Deep South and as someone who is involved in Los Angeles politics, I am shocked and saddened by the racist remarks of Councilpersons Nury Martinez, Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo.  Racism, homophobia and discrimination have no place in Los Angeles and should not be condoned by anyone, especially our elected officials.

I am also deeply troubled by the initial and muted response to these remarks by several of our elected leaders.  The statements directed at Councilperson Mike Bonin and his son are deplorable.  But this is about so much more than Mike Bonin.  The use by an elected official of demeaning terms like “monkey” and “darkies” when talking about Black persons is offensive to every Black person in Los Angeles.  Indeed, it should be offensive to every person in this City, particularly those in our Jewish community who know too painfully the cost of hate.  For the moral health of our collective communities, elected officials who use such belittling terms should immediately lose the privilege of being allowed to serve the residents of the City of Los Angeles.

I understand this is an election year and much is at stake.  Many of our elected officials may have wanted to avoid having to request the removal of three Hispanic elected officials.  But there are plenty of smart and talented persons who can replace Nury Martinez, Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo.  Moreover, there are times like this where our elected leaders need to put politics aside and not only condemn unacceptable conduct, but immediately demand that any person who engages in such conduct be removed from office.  History has taught us that leaders, who do not respond swiftly and boldly in the face of cruelty and harm, passively join in that harm.

Hopefully the City of Los Angeles, and in particular our elected officials, will learn from this moment and use it as an opportunity to provide more responsive and effective leadership to all of the residents of Los Angeles.

Karl S. Thurmond has served as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Milken Community School and Co-Chair of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer’s 2022 Mayoral Campaign.  He is currently the Co-Chair of the Finance Committee of Sydney Kamlager’s Congressional Campaign.

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